By: Scott F. Roberts
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Hemp Law and the RMLA—Is Commercial Hemp Coming to Michigan?
Due to legal and regulatory changes in the industry, including the 2018 Farm Bill and recent changes in the implementation of Michigan’s 2014 Industrial Hemp Research Act, the information contained in this Article may no longer be accurate. Please contact an attorney before relying on any information contained in this Article. For more information on cultivating hemp, or the Hemp Pilot Program in Michigan, check out our recent article.
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, also known simply as the “RMLA” recently obtained enough signatures from Michigan voters to be on the November 2018 ballot. While most people think the initiative only “legalizes marijuana”, it also has a little talked about provision that would make industrial hemp legal in the State of Michigan. Hemp has a number of uses, from food (some consider the seeds to be a “superfood”), to industrial products such as rope, paper, and textiles, to use as a water purifier and biofuel. While it is currently legal to grow hemp in Michigan for research purposes, commercial hemp production remains illegal under Michigan law.
Oddly enough, commercial hemp is made illegal under federal law by the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”), despite the fact that it is not a recreational drug and does not produce a “high” like its close sibling, marijuana. This has been the case since the passage of the CSA in 1970. However, both Michigan and the federal government may soon legalize commercial hemp cultivation.
The RMLA ballot initiative to allow commercial hemp mirrors efforts on the national level to allow commercial hemp cultivation. The recently introduced federal Hemp Farming Act of 2018 would remove hemp from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act and allow it to be grown as a commercial crop. This is good news not just for farmers looking to grow hemp, but also to the budding CBD industry.
The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 defines hemp as cannabis sativa with less than 0.3% THC. One little known fact about hemp is that is naturally high in CBD, making it the ideal plant from which to extract CBD. Hemp is also much cheaper to produce than commercially grown Marijuana as it is not nearly as labor and energy intensive to grow.
With the combination of both state and federal initiatives to legalize hemp cultivation and Michigan’s abundance of agricultural lands, the State could see an influx of industrial hemp production, which could, in turn, drive down the cost of pricey CBD extracts. Farmers, as well as MMFLA processors and provisioning centers, should keep a keen eye on these two initiatives as the potential uses—and market—for such products are huge.
If you are considering commercial hemp production in Michigan and are in need of a Hemp Lawyer or Hemp Attorney, you should consult with an experienced business and real estate attorney familiar with issues surrounding the Controlled Substances Act.
The boutique business firm of Scott Roberts Law provides free, in-office consultations to Michigan Hemp, CBD, and Marijuana businesses.
Want to get started in the Hemp Industry? Give us a call at (248) 234-4060.
Mr. Roberts is the founder and managing member of Scott Roberts Law, a Detroit-based Cannabis Business Law Firm founded in 2014. Scott has spent his entire career representing businesses and helping them comply with municipal, state and local regulations, as well as assisting on transactional corporate and real estate matters. Scott is an accomplished attorney, author and public speaker, having spoke at CannaCon, Cannabis Industrial Marketplace, CannabisAid, and 420 Canna Expo, to name a few. He has also taught Continuing Legal Education on Marijuana business matters, meaning other attorneys see him speak to learn about the nuances of cannabis business law.